These Grilled Jalapeño Poppers are stuffed with shrimp and then wrapped in bacon. Add in the smoky grilled flavor and you’ve got a seriously awesome summer appetizer!
I remember where I was when I first ate a Spicy Rat Toe. I was standing in the middle of Atlantic Station in Atlanta, and I was very skeptical about the idea. I guess I should explain. As unnerving as they sound, Spicy Rat Toes are a totally normal thing in Atlanta. They’re one of the most popular appetizers at Six Feet Under, a pub with two locations in Atlanta. So what exactly are Spicy Rat Toes? Well, they’re basically grilled jalapeño poppers. Take whole jalapeños, stuff ’em with shrimp and wrap ’em in bacon. My wife and I were wandering around Taste of Atlanta when we stumbled across these delicious little appetizers. In case you’re wondering, the seeds and ribs are removed from the jalapeños, so they’re not as spicy as you might think. Well, check that. They’re still spicy. They just won’t burn your face off. If you’re searching for a fun grilled appetizer to serve this summer, then search no more! These Grilled Jalapeño Poppers are sure to be a hit!
I thought about calling these Spicy Grilled Jalapeño Poppers, but then I figured that would be a bit redundant. I mean, you’re eating an entire jalapeño after all! To be fair, the seeds and ribs are removed first, but these bad boys are still on the spicier end of things…especially if you happen to get a spicy batch of jalapeños. Either way, you serve these Grilled Jalapeño Poppers with a dish of creamy ranch (or blue cheese) dressing which helps cool off a bit of the heat.
The first time I made these Grilled Jalapeño Poppers, I didn’t do such a good job at cleaning out the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños. We could barely eat them they were so hot! (This time, I actually cut a slit down the side of each jalapeño to make sure I got all of the seeds and ribs out. I also soaked them in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes which helped moderate the heat, too.)
Speaking of eating whole peppers, I will never forget the time we were hanging out on our back deck in Atlanta with friends. We’d had a few beers. We also had a little potted pepper plant growing on our back deck. I don’t remember what kind of peppers they were. They were small and red, and I was scared to eat them. Well, somehow the challenge was issued to eat one of these peppers whole. One of my best friends accepted the challenge, and it was quite possibly the funniest moment ever. I think the words “It feels like battery acid running down my face” were used in there somewhere.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, beer doesn’t help moderate the burning. (In fact, as my buddy learned, alcohol just intensifies the burning sensation.) Ah, good times.
Despite this story, don’t be afraid of these Grilled Jalapeño Poppers. Sure, they are spicy. That’s where the ranch dipping sauce comes in. But as long as you remove the seeds and ribs, you actually end up with an incredibly tasty grilled appetizer!
Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
- 16 large jalapenos
- 16 medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 8 slices bacon cut in half
- 16 medium length skewers
- Ranch dressing
- Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a paring knife, slice the tops off of the jalapenos. Cut a slit down the side of each jalapeno and carefully remove the ribs and seeds. (Tip: Have a bowl of water handy. Dunking the jalapenos in water helps get the last few seeds out. If desired, soaking the peppers in water for about 30 minutes, too--it helps reduce the the heat a bit.)
- Preheat grill to medium-low heat (~350°F)
- Stuff each jalapeno with one shrimp. Wrap jalapeno with half slice of bacon and then secure bacon with a skewer through the center.
- Place jalapenos on grill and cook for 8-10 min, or until bottom portion of bacon is cooked but not burnt. Flip jalapenos and grill for 8-10 more minutes, or until bacon is crispy and shrimp is fully cooked.
- Serve hot with a side of ranch dressing.
This recipe was featured in CheapThriftyLiving’s collection of 30 Cheap BBQ Food Ideas for Your Summer Cookout!